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Celebrating International Women's Day at ecosecurities

It’s important that as we work towards delivering a more climate-safe and equitable planet for all, the role of women in this process is fully recognized. Women have a unique and integral part to play in developing innovative climate solutions, not least because they are “disproportionately affected by climate change and face greater risks and burdens, particularly in the global south where lower incomes, less access to credit and decision-making authority and limited control over resources can often increase their vulnerability to many climate impacts”. 


On International Women’s Day 2024, we’d like to celebrate the amazing achievements of all our female colleagues around the world, as well as shine a spotlight on some of the fantastic work that Audrey, Melvin, Azul, Mariama, Hoda and Chris are doing in terms of tackling climate change in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. 




Audrey Palomar is Head of Nature-Based Solutions, Asia Pacific at ecosecurities and is based in Manilla, in the Philippines.  

International Women’s Day is an important day for me as it draws attention to women making both social and environmental contributions to create a better world for everyone. IWD is a time to celebrate the tremendous achievements of women despite the many hurdles we must face in our roles at home or at work. It is a privilege to be a woman in the field of climate change, acting as a catalyzing force, but there are many more that we should empower. 


After several years working in various sectors, it was great to join ecosecurities in 2022 as their Nature Based Solutions lead in the Asia Pacific region. Not only do I get to work on some fantastic projects, with a fantastic team across APAC, but I can also demonstrate to the next generation of women leaders in universities that women can have a leadership role in any discipline, including climate change. The saying is true that if you can see it then you can be it! 


At ecosecurities diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are core values promoted across the organisation. With the majority of our work in the Global South, it’s important that we have experienced, well-balanced teams on the ground that understand the local culture, opportunities, and challenges to get things done and that’s the reality here with most of the teams being located in APAC, Latam and Africa.  


To inspire more inclusion, from a gender perspective, for me it’s about encouraging the next generation of women. Mentoring more women at universities or early in their careers, as well as collaborating with academic institutions – especially those in the Global South coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences can help us build the next generation of women in climate.  


I’m often inspired by the women I see, both professionally and personally. Initially, it was my mother who successfully built a career as a lawyer whilst also looking after 4 children. More recently, it’s all the other women working in climate (often within indigenous communities) who are tirelessly working towards protecting the planet for future generations. 


For me, personally and professionally, it would be great to have more time to act as a mentor for youth groups and young women at university to encourage and empower them to carve out impactful careers that will be able to deliver innovative climate solutions that the world needs to see in the next 5 – 10 years. 


Melvin Onyango is a Technical Associate, Africa at ecosecurities and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.  

I really think International Women’s Day is not just a day, it’s more of a lifestyle choice. In that spirit, this day to me celebrates women's social, cultural and economic achievements.  As a young woman growing up in Kenya, I have witnessed my mother and sister and pushing themselves and taking an active role in wanting to succeed in careers and family balance. So, in the end, IWD to me is a celebration of women’s achievements right around the world and how you value yourself and the contributions we can make to society. 


Working as part of ecosecurities’ Africa team I feel immensely proud, as I’m playing an integral role within the technical team, working and collaborating on some challenging yet fulfilling projects. I’m part of a company that celebrates diversity and promotes respect and empowerment in the workplace. My views and opinions are valued by my colleagues and this really motivates me to contribute more so that women and the wider communities that are so integral to the successful implementation of our nature and technology-based projects can benefit. In African society, the opinions of women can often be ignored and their ideas shelved so it’s fantastic that I can put my environmental skills and technical capabilities to good use.  


I’m also keen to empower other women and young girls too when it comes to maximizing their life chances and career potential. In my free time, I volunteer with a local organization mentoring 14 – 24-year-old adolescent girls and young women with guidance on education, life skills and career advice. I’ve been successfully mentored throughout my career and it’s really rewarding to be able to help others. 


There are lots of women that inspire me but several really stand out! Wangari Maathai is a true environmental crusader in Kenya. The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, she built the Green Belt Movement that was responsible for planting millions of trees, as well as promoting environmental conservation and women’s rights.  

Last, but not least, Ann Rose Mwangi is my mentor to date. She is an avid Geospatial analyst and an experienced rangeland ecologist. Her resilience and work ethic are values that she has been instilling in me on a daily basis. 


Finally, I have to mention someone much closer to home as another source of inspiration – my mum. She’s my absolute hero and raised 5 children in the best way possible, making sure we went to school to open up opportunities and instilling values that helped shape me such as always striving for more, being focused and also resilience. 


Moving forward, ecosecurities can further promote the role of women in climate by continuing to hiring women in leadership positions, providing flexibility in the workplace and looking to share best practices with online and face-to-face networking to share best practices across regional teams and celebrate success. 


Azul Popper is Technical Team Lead, Cono-Sur at ecosecurities and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  

I believe it's important to recognise International Women's Day because it's the day when we acknowledge historical disputes. We celebrate victories, but it's also a day to raise awareness of ongoing gender inequality. I'm Argentinian and here we have a big feminist movement, which I feel a part of. The movement started growing and mobilizing in response to gender violence and because of this, society started taking into consideration many gender conflicts. There have been some recent victories, such as the passing of the abortion law at the end of 2020 in Argentina, but still, there are ongoing disputes, things are not set in stone, and a lot of battles are still being fought. This is why we should still raise awareness and have this day recognised. 


At ecosecurities, we develop many nature-based solution projects which have an important community and a biodiversity component, and I'm really happy to work in a field that is so important globally and work on projects that approach gender inequalities and create community benefits. I'm immensely proud to do the job that I do and particularly to work in such a scientific area. I think Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)roles are so important when it comes to tackling climate change and women need to be fully represented in these critical disciplines. 


In terms of the company inspiring inclusion in the workplace, they are doing a great job, but there's always more that can be done like promoting equal opportunities, ensuring there are no gender pay gaps, creating more leadership development opportunities, and increasing the flexibility with working arrangements.  


There are some fantastic women in my family who really inspire me, my great-grandmother and her sisters. They went to university at a time when studying as a woman wasn't easy, and they all became great scientists. They are a huge inspiration for me and my career. I'm also really inspired by all the women within my team who I believe are fantastic and are doing a wonderful job! 




 

Chris Lisboa is Head of Finance and Member of the eco Investment Committee at ecosecurities and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

International Women’s Day is the day to remember and celebrate my female ancestors’ achievements but it is also a moment to reflect and adjust my own goals and expectations for my career, relationships, and, how I want to see myself in the short future. 


It is important to recognise the day to bring certain subjects into the spotlight, such as: i) Despite most breadwinners worldwide being female, we remain a minority in the workforce; ii) generally speaking, we earn 20% less than our male peers; iii) living in constant self-vigilance to avoid harassment and violence, we often miss opportunities to progress in our careers, explore new places, and simply relax and enjoy ourselves. 


I have hundreds of women inspiring me constantly, such as my coworkers, colleagues, friends, and relatives. But in terms of well-known women, I may point to Bell Hooks, an American feminist author who dedicated her life to fighting for equality; Angela Merkel, Germany's ex-chancellor for being the best example of strength, bravery, resistance and at the same time kindness. 


I take pride in working in the climate and environmental sector because it allows me to contribute directly to safeguarding our planet while also promoting social equity and justice. Being part of initiatives that drive positive change in both the environment and society is deeply rewarding and aligns with my values of responsibility and community building. I am thrilled to work for eco because we are fostering an inclusive, equitable, and supportive company culture where our voices are heard. 


To make ecosecurities  more inclusive company in the future, ecosecurities could engage in and implement policies and goals such as: i) ensuring that its suppliers adhere to an equal pay policy; ii) ensuring diverse representation at all its events, iii) engaging more in community advocacy, especially in regions where we have projects; iv) creating a female group for mentoring or sessions to share experiences, thereby enabling other women to advance in their careers.  


Hoda AbdelRaouf is Head of People and Operations at ecosecurities and is based in London, England. 

Recognizing International Women’s Day is important to honour the all the achievements of women, especially women who can juggle so many things at the same time, such as mothers.   


A woman that inspires me since the start of my career is Indra Nooyi, a leading business executive ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in 2014. I have listened to many of her speeches about the struggle for women, and in particular how women deal with their ticking  ‘biological clock,’ and the desire to start a family whilst at the same time trying to build their careers. As women, it is difficult to have it all, as there is often a need to make compromises. However, this doesn't always have to be the case, as women like Nooyi have proved that you can do both things well and this is inspiring to me, as a woman and a mother.


At ecosecurities, I take pride in contributing to the climate and environmental sector, knowing that our work makes a positive impact for the planet— this is what keeps me motivated. We are a very inclusive company with almost 50% of our staff members being women, including many women in management positions, and the women at ecosecurities come from a number of diverse backgrounds.  


At ecosecurities, we are constantly empowering women and always working towards making the workspace more inclusive. 

 

Mariama Vendramini is Regional Director, Brazil at ecosecurities and is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  

We need to recognize this day because historically and up to now, we still have gender inequality. We still have roles that are unbalanced in our society with things like pay gaps. There has been important progress recently, but I think it’s important that we still recognise that there is a gap and inequality so we must all strive to continue to work to even out the imbalance in the world.  


Working on climate issues has been an ambition of mine since I became aware of the climate crisis. I used to work in the financial markets and I made the move to a more environmental-focused role.  Today I lead a diverse team in Brazil who are working on developing reforestation projects across the region, protecting the environment, biodiversity and enabling communities to access vital flows of climate finance to get these projects off the ground.  In addition, ecosecurities are also working on soil carbon sequestration, sustainable farming and agriculture, conservation and renewable energy projects. So, every day I am motivated by the vision that there’s a higher purpose (safeguarding the climate) for me to work on and deliver on my objectives.  


I think ecosecurities can and does inspire inclusion by having women in leadership positions and working on teams with equal opportunities for growth and development. For me personally, I had two children quite late, so being able to take sufficient time off to care for them was important and I think often women face this barrier in their jobs and worry about taking the time. Another thing that’s key to me is flexibility in working from home and having a hybrid approach – having the office there for engagement and team building, but also if people need to be at home to spend more time with their children.  


For women that inspire me, I want to talk about two in particular. The first is Christiana Figueres, she’s a Costa Rican diplomat who was the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC from 2010 to 2016 so she was a leader there for the historic Paris Agreement. She’s very inspiring and I like that she has a style of being assertive but also very collaborative, which was important in reaching an agreement in 2015. Secondly is my grandmother who sadly passed away recently but she was incredibly caring, optimistic and lived for her family so I carry her in my heart for inspiration all the time.    

 

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